Friday, September 19, 2008

Why it took me eight years to discover The Beta Band, and a second to love them

It's been a while since I've had something to rave about, but I'm back in the groove, babies, and boy howdy do I have something for you. Let me tell you a story about how I have owned a copy of The Beta Band's The Three E.P.'s for almost a decade and have only now realized, holy shit, this stuff is good! You see, somewhere around the summer of 2000 I managed to score tickets to see my ultimate, end-all be-all, once-in-a-lifetime, absolute favorite (or at least when Pulp wasn't in town) band: Radiohead. (I know it's cliché to say your favorite band is Radiohead now, but this was back in 2000 when they were still fairly cutting edge, so cut me some slack). I recruited two of my best friends and we made the long trek down to middle-of-nowheresville, Virginia for the outdoor show. After waiting in the longest security line ever to get in, I ran around in manic enthusiasm, gleeful with the certainty that today was the day that I would finally be in the hallowed presence of Thom Yorke (and the very sexy presence of Ed O'Brien). I was there long enough to buy a t-shirt and an over-priced order of chicken fingers and pick up a free copy of the Beta Band cd, the band apparently slated to open for Radiohead. And then the skies turned ominous. Rumbling overhead was followed by lightning, and soon we could see smoke rising up from small fires in the field across the road. Finally, the skies buckled, and it rained. It rained like I had never seen before, and soon announcements were made over loudspeakers for everyone to return to their cars, and wait. And so thousands of people, soaked within seconds, slipped and slided their way through the mud to the parking lot, and we waited. We waited for hours, soaking the upholstery, drawing pictures in the steam on the windows, and turning the radio on occasionally, listening for updates on the show. WHFS played Radiohead. "High and Dry?" my friend Julia fumed. "High and Dry??? Those bastards." Finally, hours later the announcement came: the show was canceled. We all had to go home. And so, all around cars were started, inched forward, and stopped. And we all sat in one giant traffic jam clusterfuck for another two hours. I knew without a doubt it was the worst day of my life.

A few days later the sting was still there, but I was trying to get on with my life. "Hey, did you listen to your Beta Band cd?" Julia said. "It's pretty good, right?" I believe my exact reaction was, I can't believe I didn't get to see Radiohead and all I got was this stupid cd!!!!!! In other words, I may not have given it a fair shot. And then I put it away and forgot about it for the next eight years.

Until two days ago when I needed some packing music, and came across The Three E.P.'s in my iTunes. Meh, why not, I thought. And holy shit, guys! It's good! This album, it just grooves. I mean, check this song out:

Dry the Rain

I love a song that starts out chill, and then builds, and then builds some more. But if you want to know how completely the Beta Band was not on my radar, apparently I even managed to gloss over that part in High Fidelity where they put this song on, and all the music store doofs stand around nodding their heads.

Now this song...this song I love. This song gets stuck in my head. Check it out:

She's the One

It just grooves and builds, grooves and builds. And this is why I could never be a music critic; apparently I have a musical vocabulary of two words. Three, if you count awesome! (I do).

In conclusion: The Beta Band. Who knew? (Other than their legions of fans, all of these reviewers, and anyone who ever saw the movie High Fidelity). So, where have I been for the last ten years? In a cave, apparently. But man, does it feel good to be back outside in the sunshine.


  1. I just dug out my old Beta Band CD a couple of days ago to listen to while I was cleaning/organizing. I love it!

  2. I don't know anything about this Beta Band, but how are you liking Bel Canto? I enjoyed it A LOT.

  3. Dawn - I went into Bel Canto having had several of my most trusted friends tell me that's it's awful and like, the worst book ever. But I kept hearing so much about it I felt like I should probably form an opinion of my own. That said, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Not my favorite, but not that bad either.

    Have you read any of her other books?

  4. Yeah, I have:

    Run -- I thought it was quite well-written, but terribly far-fetched and so it won't get my thumbs-up. Not even one thumb, really.

    Truth and Beauty -- I loved it; it's a true story of Ann and her friend

    The Patron Saint of Liars -- I loved this one too; really nicely written

  5. I read Truth and Beauty too, a long time ago. I liked it.

  6. I LOVE The Beta Band! I was introduced to them in a somewhat unorthodox fashion. When I lived with my sister, we had speakers wired to the bathroom from our stereo. (I really like listening to music when I'm in the shower... especially in the morning.) However, she took it upon herself to grace my ears with their music for the first time when I was... doing my business. Unfortunately for me, the song she put on fit the situation perfectly. Of course the song builds slowly and there wasn't a lot I could do to stop the encouraging tune. Her laugh from outside the door still echoes in my head. This was my bittersweet introduction to The Beta Band with the song "Push It Out."

  7. Wow...that's quite a story, Dan! I'll never listen to that song the same way again.

  8. I'll check them out on iTunes tonight.

    I've been listening to music from One Tree Hill recently. Because I've been watching the show. Incessantly.

    Please help me. Or kill me. Whichever.

    Am I off topic?